Amendments to the Public Bodies Bill

24/01/2011

in Public Bodies Bill

The Committee sat in the House of Lords on the 11th January 2011 to run through the Public Bodies Bill “line by line”.  On the 20th January 2011, they published the amendments below.

Further amendments are expected after the Committee sits again at the House of Lords on the 25th Jan 2011.

NB: A “Function” is defined as; change of use or management, letting or disposal of, etc

Summary of (most) Amendments

The Secretary of State can not sell the woodlands for just “any purpose” or without conditions.

The amendment removes the power of the Forestry Commission to modify either the works carried out by the transferee or the constitutional/funding arrangements of the transferee.

Any protections already in place will not be removed prior/as a result of any transfer of ownership/management.

The Secretary of State can’t make an order of transference of functions, if it will affect the access rights we have at the time of transference.

This clause singles out groups that, unless they want to, will not be included in the sell off. It includes National Parks, the Broads, National Forest or SSSI sites.

Full Details of the amendments including references

Amendment:

Clause 17
LORD GREAVES
Page 8, line 27, leave out subsection (3)

What does Clause 17, subsection (3) say?

(3)    An order under subsection (2) may in particular secure that the Secretary of  State may exercise a function to which this section applies for any purpose or unconditionally.

What does it mean?

Clause 17 subsection (3) gives the Secretary of State the unconditional power to, among other things, change the use/management as well as let or dispose of forestry land for any purpose.

The current amendment has removed this clause.

Removing this clause does not prevent the Secretary of State excercising those functions (change of use/management/letting/disposal of). It just means that the Secreatary of State can’t do it for “any purpose or without condition”.

Amendment:

Clause 18
LORD GREAVES
Page 9, line 25, at end insert—

( ) Where an order under this section transfers a function, the transferred function and arrangements may apply to the whole of England or to a particular area or areas.

What does Clause 18 say?

The insertion above comes after subsection (3) of clause 18:

(3) Arrangements made under an order under subsection (1)(d)—

(a) may be revoked at any time by the Forestry Commissioners;
(b) do not prevent the Forestry Commissioners from exercising the function to which the arrangements relate;
(c) do not affect the responsibility of the Forestry Commissioners in relation to the function.

The subsection (1) (d) referred to is:

18 – Powers relating to Forestry Commissioners

(1) The Secretary of State may by order do any of the following in relation to the Forestry Commissioners—

(a) modify their constitutional arrangements;
(b) modify their functions relating to England;
(c) transfer a function of theirs relating to England to another person;
(d) authorise them to enter into arrangements with another person for that person to exercise a function of theirs relating to England.

What does it mean?

This is the part that allows the Secretary of State to change how the Forestry Commission works. Not only change it but transfer the work the Forestry Commission does to another “person” (ie; private/charity/other).

However it also says that the Forestry Commission will still be responsible for said “function”.

The amendment is stating that instead of this clause relating to the whole of England, it also relates to a single or group of individual woodlands within England.

Amendment:

Clause 18
LORD GREAVES
Page 9, line 28, leave out subsection (5)

What does Clause 18, line 28, subsection (5) say?

(5) Where an order under this section transfers a function, the power in subsection (4) includes power to make consequential or supplementary provision—

(a) to modify functions of the transferee;
(b) to modify the constitutional or funding arrangements of the transferee.

What does it mean?

This appears to go into more detail about the responsibilities maintained by the Forestry Commission on transference of “functions”.

The amendment removes the power of the Forestry Commission to modify either the works carried out by the transferee or the constitutional/funding arrangements.

Amendment:

Clause 18
LORD GREAVES
Page 10, line 1, leave out “necessary” and insert “existing”

What does Clause 18, page 10, line 1 say?

(a) the order does not remove any necessary protection, and

What does the entire clause say?

(8) The Secretary of State may make an order under this section only if the Secretary of State considers that—

(a) the order does not remove any necessary protection, and
(b) the order does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise.

What does it mean?

Any protections already in place will not be removed prior/as a result of any transfer of ownership/management.

This is an interesting point to think about. I will discuss the potential issues in the Save Our Woods forum.

Amendment:

Clause 18
LORD GREAVES
Page 10, line 3:

leave out from “person” to the end of line 4 and insert “may exercise at the time that the order is made”

What is line 4?

right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise.

What does the entire clause say?

(8) The Secretary of State may make an order under this section only if the Secretary of State considers that—

(a) the order does not remove any necessary protection, and
(b) the order does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to continue to exercise.

What does it mean?

That the Secretary of State can’t make an order (of transference of functions), if it will affect the access rights we have at the time of transference.

Amendment:

After Clause 18
LORD GREAVES
LORD JUDD
Insert the following new Clause—

Restrictions on orders under sections 17 and 18

(1) An order under section 17 or 18 may not be made in relation to land in a National Park unless the relevant National Park Authority has given its consent.

(2) An order under section 17 or 18 may not be made in relation to land in the area of the Broads Authority unless that authority has given its consent.

(3) An order under section 17 or 18 may not be made in relation to land which forms part of the National Forest unless the National Forest Company has given its consent.

(4) An order under section 17 or 18 may not be made in relation to land which forms part or the whole of a Site of Special Scientific Interest unless Natural England has given its consent.

What does it mean?

This clause singles out groups that, unless they want to, will not be included in the sell off. It includes National Parks, the Broads, National Forest or SSSI sites.

Links Related to this article:

Public Bodies Bill

Public Bodies Bill Amendments

Save Our Woods Forum

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: